Despite a clear business case for a more diverse workforce, the industry still lacks the understanding and leadership required to address inequality; so was the conclusion of a recent high-level discussion, attended by well-known champions of diversity in construction.
Brought together to form the UK Construction Week Diversity Advisory Group, the panel confronted the major barriers and challenges the industry faces in bridging the diversity gap. With a firm commitment to encouraging the cultural shift that is much needed in the industry, the lessons learned from the panel discussion will shape the agenda for the event in October – ensuring that construction professionals at all levels are equipped to embrace diversity and other challenges, turning them instead into positive opportunities.
Two interesting schools of thought emerged, around tackling the issue at grassroots versus leadership from the top. Much of the discussion centred around reputation and the difficulties we face in attracting any youngsters into the construction industry – and particularly girls and ethnic minorities.
Sarah Davis, CEO, Skills4Stem Ltd felt that we needed to start early – at the age of five or six, when children are first gaining an opinion on what they want to be when they grow up. “Parents are also hugely influential at this stage and the problem we face is that few will encourage their children to aspire to a career in construction. We need to also educate the parents.”
The teachers too, it seems. The panel chair, Bridget Bartlett, Deputy Chief Executive of the CIOB, cited poor careers guidance as another limiting factor and felt more needed to be done by the industry to educate and excite youngsters about a career in construction. Although there are some fantastic examples of the construction industry engaging with children, with a host of wide-ranging ideas, it was agreed that it was generally pockets of activity.
Read the full article here: http://www.ukconstructionweek.com/whats-on/show-news/289-ukcw-champions-diversity-in-construction